The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: music composition (Page 1 of 4)

Goals, ToDos & TryOuts – part 2

First seen in this earlier post and then again in part 1, a certain coffee mug takes center stage as an example of a ‘quick TryOut’.

That said, the ‘quick TryOut’ to finish Aromatic Steam Arising is only as good as the sum of its parts. Meaning: one of those parts was to compose a soundtrack specific to the video. That part was right up my alley and I certainly had fun noodling around on both the UKE and CG for ideas. The noodling resulted in two separate 4 measure motifs which I then entered into my NOTION notation program and arranged as a duo. Adjusting for the duration of coffee mug’s stellar performance, I came up with the 34 seconds of music needed for use in the video.

ASA 34 seconds Score

That was the easy part. Next came the actual putting together of a cohesive video highlighting my raw unedited phone footage in sync with a NOTION instrument rendition of my ASA 34 Seconds accompanying audio track.

Enter stage left – the challenging part of my ‘quick TryOut.’

Armed with some working knowledge of Canva, I decided to go forth and dive deep into using their free tools for video/audio projects. It took me a few days but I learned much through the process.

As promised, here is my first attempt at making a video with my personal & original uploads using Canva tools. Enjoy!

“Aromatic Steam Arising” © 2024 LBL/Purple Tulip Music

Aromatic Steam Arising postcard
An easier to read version of the ending page in the above video – yes, I need to ‘fix’ that! 🙂

The Meaning We Make with Our Hands (Poem)

In reading about the stories we as creatives tell through our (he)art, I came across this phrase from a Quiltfolk blog article.

It resonated. I ruminated. I wrote a poem.



Weekend Notes 2/17-18/2024

A few weeks ago, we took to the road to attend my Uncle Dennis’ funeral in Chicago. He was the youngest and last of the three brothers in my Dad’s family.

3 Brothers, 3 Uncles, 3 Dads

3 brothers, 3 uncles, 3 dads
L-R: Dennis Bruno, Albert Bruno (my dad), Frank Bruno
(date unknown but maybe early 1940s)

My Aunt Dolores, as the baby in the family, is now the sole surviving sibling. Most everyone is sitting at that Family Table up in heaven now…


Ma’s bd day, February 6th, recently came and went  and I’m missing all of you guys…

also find this here

“Ma, this is what I wanted to play for you the day before you passed away; I wanted you to be the first to hear it – finally finished and ready to record – I wanted you to know – to feel me there with you, to be a part of your leaving us. Me.
But I was too afraid…It’s taken me this long to understand why.  Somehow deep inside I thought if I could play it for you, it would work its musical magic and you’d awaken – and be back with all of us. I couldn’t face you awakening somewhere else, someplace I couldn’t go along with you.”

me, 2008

Afterwards, on the way back home from Chicago somewhere in Kentucky, our 2003 Toyota Camry reached a milestone 444,444 miles. We’re getting closer to our return trip from the moon – it is now at 445,685, only 4,315 (at perigee) miles left to go!


My Saturday Project:

Laura's Lovelies 2024

Baked up a batch of my “Laura’s Lovelies” – thusly named by Amy-next-door during a ‘circle’ block party (we lived on a cul-de-sac) in the old neighborhood ~ Lafayette, CO circa 1988.


My Sunday Project:

Eating above Saturday Project – with multiple cups of java of course! 🙂


Multiple Meanings of ‘sus’

Multiple meanings?

Who knew? Not me!

According to those in the know ‘sus’ means suspicious.

When author/editor (and friend) L.Marie posted about current slang  used among teens, the term ‘sus’ came up.

My comment to that post went as follows:

“Sus (suspicious)” HA! Had to laugh at this one. As a musician, ‘sus’ is common reference to a suspended chord and/or melodic line suspension. Often said, Csus7 as an example; or There’s a sus on measure 3, forth note.

My comment to L.Marie’s post on current slang

That’s my simplified attempt at using ‘sus’ in a sentence. As a musical, technical, theoretical term go here & here for explanations and examples of suspension.

Excerpts from pop music of where different ‘sus’ chords are used can be heard in the video to the left. Keeping in mind that this is a composition technique used in many other forms/styles of music.

The beauty of this particular musical sound is that once heard, most listeners regardless of musical acumen recognize this in whatever genre of music it is heard.

That sound can now be connected to its name – suspension, or ‘sus’.


Full pop song example of ‘sus’ chords in instrumental sequence (first begins ~ 0.18) – Enjoy the music!

When Do Lightening Bugs Become Fireflies?

June is fast approaching and there is much scheduled.

The beginning of the month is my highly anticipated Visiting Artist Presentation/Performance at the Arts Center. The last weekend of the month is a long-planned mother/daughter trip. In between, there’s hubby’s and mine 45th wedding anniversary and Father’s Day. All-in-all a hearty, well-paced meal of events I’ve been looking forward to devouring for several months! HA!

So, what’s all that got to do with the question posed in this blog post title?

In prepping for my presentation/performance, the focus morphed into spotlighting prepared guitar in musical compositions. I fooled around with other composer’s pieces, most notable ‘Kalimba’ the featured piece for a rhythm study by A. Hirsch on the Aaron Shearer Foundation website. The sound was sort-of right, but not quite.

Plus, I wanted something I could incorporate into one of my own compositions. I dug out an experimental duo piece I wrote for classical guitar and banjo about a year ago when I was collaborating with banjo guy. I played through the guitar part in prepared guitar mode and voila! It was made for just such an application!

my prepared guitar set up

As often happens with original compositions, until something is marked as Fine// on the score, it is still a WIP. So, I adapted the original duo into a short solo prepared guitar piece to play during my Vising Artist Presentation/Performance. I had loads of fun experimenting with a final guitar ‘preparation’ and ended up using staples on 4 sets of strings to get the sound I wanted.

A great example of Kalimba/Mbira sounding prepared guitar can be heard in this piece played by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ):

“Okay, but what about the Lightening Bug/Firefly thing?” you may be wondering – albeit a bit impatiently.

Scroll back to April 6, 2023. Hubby was poised at his computer to be one of the first to enter our names in the Congaree National Park Firefly Viewing Lottery.

About 10 days later we were informed we acquired our first-choice date for the event.

In planning for this, I asserted my usage of the term ‘Lightening Bugs’ over ‘Fireflies’. It’s the term I grew up with and cling to even now as a point of identity!

The night of our excursion was a perfect night in the swamp for observing the lightening bugs’ synchronous light show. As we were immersed in Lightening Bug Glow, they seemed to be blinking a tempo (in sync, remember) to the prepared guitar piece I planned on playing for part of my Visiting Artist Presentation/Performance. The piece wafted through my mind (in sync) as the images of the lightening bugs hovered over and around us. I whispered to my hubby about my delightful discovery and he caught the vision, too.

In that moment, the original title of the piece died along with using my preferred bug nomenclature in the new title.

“Fireflies Arising for prepared guitar” rolls off the tongue nice and smooth.
It’s a rhythm thing.

What’s your preferred term for these wonderful critters?


About the following video:

“Every year tens of thousands of fireflies (Photuris frontalis) emerge from the leaf litter in Congaree National Park to begin their bioluminescent mating ritual. As darkness falls, this species of firefly, also commonly called a “snappy sync,” begins to flash in unison. The effect is like watching the heartbeat of the swamp, pulsing lights hovering over the bottomlands. This short film was created during the COVID-19 pandemic when the National Park was closed to the public and when the fireflies could be viewed without the interference of external lights.”


Mama (Gracie) Needs a New Pair of (Set of) Shoes (Strings)

Like a baby being born into an expectant family – the world revolves around that anticipated event while simultaneously continuing to turn daily on its axis.

Such is the life of a working musician – the ins and outs of projects going public and in various stages of completion with the on-going daily-ness of keeping up one’s chops, learning new repertoire, caring for one’s instruments, exploring the wide world of sound adventures while simultaneously creating a fresh crop of compositions/recordings and forging relationships with possible new performance partners. 

So yeah, Gracie Needed A New Set of Strings…In Spades.
She was neglected in that way. But truly in no other.


I recently unearthed a song sketch I recorded on my new-at-the-time ZOOM H4n handheld recorder after my literal Swimming with Swans* experience.

It definitely sounded way better than I remembered. Usually it goes the other way around – remembering something way better than it actually was.

Ah yes, after all these years – I hit the jackpot. Hidden in plain sight, I unwittingly discovered the namesake piece for the entire Swimming with Swans: The Music project!

All that to say, Gracie and I have been deeply ensconced in the nuances of deciphering what was recorded and translating it back under my fingers to play upon her lovely neck. Teasing to attention several other12-string pieces queued up for the next recording session (yet to be determined).

Now, if I keep the original recorded intro with those birds chirping in the background…tack it onto the future studio recording when the time comes…
😎


*This poignant experience occurred during the
**Indiana sojourn part of our between homes time (from 3/2010 – 10/2010).

Go Look! I’m Featured on L.Marie’s Blog!

Long before my Swimming with Swans: The Music – Goat Suite (Saga) was released, L.Marie asked if I would like to be a featured guest on her blog once the Big Day arrived.

Of course I said, “Yes”.

This woman, herself an accomplished author, has a reputation with us creatives as being actively supportive of her fellow (he)artists – both in word and deed. Going the extra mile with surprise encouragements in the snail mail to conducting interviews on her blog, L.Marie unabashedly helps enable & promote others’ newly released works.

Amethyst

She’s a Gem.

Please go here for that interview and while you’re there, maybe have a look around her blog. Enjoy!

It’s Release Day!

Swimming with Swans: The Music – Goat Suite (Saga)
is officially released today, 3/11/2022

Mama Goat
Hey Everybody! Take a listen to Laura’s Goat Suite (Saga). It’s all about me & my kids, back in the day.
Love,
Mama Goat

Brief background of this piece:

Smack dab in the middle of our three-year journey between homes experience, my husband & I lived on the compound in the desert outside Las Cruces, NM, by invitation of family members grieving the loss of a young child. We shared life with various ‘rescues’ of both the animal and human sort. Inspired by our family of rescue goats, their antics and their care for us as we cared for them and initially based upon musical intervals of their bleats, my GS(S) stands as an ‘homage’ to Mama Goat and her kids. In addition, it gives voice to the fact that those of us who have experienced or are currently in a period of displacement in a living situation or even state of mind, are not defined by that but live day-by-day, create works of beauty regardless, and share it with all who will listen.
[Dedicated to Justice Marie Norwood (1/30/2008-8/26/2010)- a child filled with light & delight, never to be forgotten.]

Hop over to my Bandcamp page for details on how to order digital tracks and/or physical cds.

Official Release Date & In the Meantime

Shortly after my previous post

…I set an official Release Date: 3/11/2022. I notified my digital distributor* for them to do what they do while I continued doing what I needed to do In the Meantime.

In the Meantime, I finished my Bandcamp storefront with a Pre-Order option for both digital and physical formats along with a free listen to the first movement of my Swimming with Swans: The Music – Goat Suite (Saga).



Pretty nifty, eh? Not just the music (!), but the fact that I can actually embed my Bandcamp music player here in a post on my WP site. Along with that you’ll notice I added a cool button that allows you to ‘Follow’ me there if you so desire.

Now about that Release Date. Yep. It’s still 3/11/2022 for all intents and purposes. However, my distribution service notified me that their side of things will be delayed…so they dropped the ball on the whole ‘release date’ thing as it applies to their delivery to on-line streaming & selling sites.

Oh well.

Because this is my music, my unveiling, my personal pinnacle of an announcement, I still claim 3/11/2022 as my release date. Sooooo…Friday is the party! My distro service may be late to that party, but eventually they will get my music out there where their services promised it to be distributed. I’ll let you know when I get updates on all of that.

In the Meantime, stay tuned here and on my Bandcamp site!


*cdbaby is the (paid for) distro service I’m using for them to send my Swimming with Swans: The Music – Goat Suite (Saga) to streaming & selling companies such as Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, etc. So my music is basically available free for the listening once they deliver the files to those platforms (and others) as well as being available for purchase on platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, etc. According to the latest update from cdbaby, there’s a delay on their end of things for a formal release on the 3/11/2022 date. All that means is that those sites won’t have it available for streaming/etc until whenever cdbaby gets their side of things cleared up. Nothing I can do about all of that – but darn!

Carolan’s Concerto

Background

Turlough O’Carolan.

Most Celtic music enthusiasts and instrumentalists are familiar with this man’s body of work and prominence of place within the Irish folk tradition.

Turlough O'Carolan on Irish 50 pound note

Long credited as being Ireland’s national composer, Turlough was born in 1670 and lived during the Baroque Era* of Western musical history. That Baroque reference is important to note. While traveling the lands of the Emerald Isle as an itinerant harper, he was in fact a contemporary of Scarlatti, Geminiani and Corelli – all composers of varying prominence of the day.

Put another way: Turlough O’Carolan could be called the Baroque Bard of Ireland.

My off-the-cuff quip notwithstanding, a rich mingling of musical traditions is indeed the basis of Carolan’s Concerto.

“In Carolan’s time, there were three musical traditions in Ireland – art music, folk music, and the harper tradition. The harper tradition served as a link between art and folk music and was the main conduit for the oral tradition. Carolan created a unique style by combining these art forms, and then adding elements inspired by Italian music which was then fashionable in Ireland. He was a great admirer of Vivaldi and Corelli, whose modern music he would have heard in the homes of his noble Irish patrons, and this admiration is reflected in the melodic construction and forms of many of his pieces. In fact, it’s said that his Carolan’s Concerto was a winning response to a compositional challenge from Geminiani, an acquaintance, colleague, and contemporary.”

Bridget Haggerty, Tribute to Turlough

My Take

Shortly before the beginning of the infamous New Year of 2020, I earnestly tackled composing an arrangement of this piece.

I wanted to adapt it for solo classical guitar in like forever and was pleasantly amazed at how it came together so quickly. I even produced two possible endings and put them up for a vote with my son and son-in-law – both musicians.

Consensus: First ending.

My take on Carolan’s Concerto was proving to be a breath of fresh air and loads of fun.


Carolan's Concerto excerpt
score excerpt ©2020 LBL/Purple Tulip Music

Within weeks of that previously mentioned infamous New Year of 2020, I started serious practice of my new arrangement.

General impression: It is good. It is a completed piece.


Carolan’s Concerto – arr. for solo classical guitar by Laura Bruno Lilly ©2020
(NOTION score computer playback)

A computer generated playback of my arrangement of the Celtic tune Carolan’s Concerto, written by the blind Irish Bard – harpist, troubadour and composer – Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738).


It was also too fast for me to play a tempo.

Discouraged, I set it aside.

Until a few weeks ago. That’s when I pulled it out for a re-look and when the ‘obvious’ hit me.

Why not play it anyway? Who says it has to be performed at such a scathing tempo?

Besides, the traditional tempo set for that piece is also traditionally variable.

A lively rendition of Carolan’s Concerto played ‘a tempo’

Here’s the thing:

Not every guitarist is a shredder, lightening fast player. Plus, my arrangement is not a single line ‘solo’ that can be easily ‘shredded’!

Even after properly practicing certain passages of the piece at slower tempos and then speeding them up incrementally I may never get it up to the tempo as played in the above video.

So what?

Play it. Just. Play it.

“Some players are simply faster than others, the way some athletes are faster, bigger, stronger, etc. Still, none of that means ‘better.’ So, find your own performance tempo, and then bring more of yourself to the piece. Remember, you possess your own sound, tone, phrasing, attack, texture, etc. If you highlight those qualities, I promise you, no one will ever complain about the tempo.”

Shawn Persinger, Wood & Steel magazine, vol 99, Issue 1, 2021

*period or style of Western art music composed from ~1600-1750. A good synopsis of the times, characteristics and elements of the music can be found here.

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